tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 20, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
severe weather through texas. but it's that one little red triangle that made this a historic night that we'll never forget. >> msnbc's live coverage of the oklahoma tornado continues now. hi, we've continuing coverage of the devastating tornado in moore, oklahoma. 21 of those killed were which i shall. children. the death toll is expected to climb further. at least 145 are injured, about 70 of those hurt are also children. as we've seen throughout the evening, entire neighborhoods have been completely levelled, and that includes two schools that were crushed. one of the schools is the plaza towers elementary school.
first responders continuing to look for the trapped or injured. that storm touched down monday afternoon just before three. jay fwrgrey is live in that air. >> reporter: emergency response team continuing to move into this area. nightfall can't hide the desperation searching for survivors in the wake of an overwhelming storm. the images show inconceivable damage. the reality is worse.
more nan 50 dead, hundreds injured. the wreckage went on more miles. >> i had to hold on to the wall to keep myself safe because i didn't want to fly away in the tornado. >> children were pulled from the rubble. first responders did find at least one teacher who put her life on the line to save her students. >> we had to pull a car out of the front hall way off of a teacher. she had three little kids underneath her.
preliminary indications with winds over 200 miles an hour. >> all i remember is hitting my head and trying to get into the bathtub and picked it up, threw down to the ground. after i hit my head, i was on top of the dog. i just could not believe that we actuallily survived this thing. >> in a region that is battered and still in shock tonight. >> anyone with a badge that's ntz the strike zone here tonight, police officers, fire fighters, sheriff's deputies helping in the effort to try to find anyone who may be trapped in the debris. that is the latest live here in oklahoma city. skbr a . >> and now, for the very latest, joined by nbc meteorologist
who's been bringing up the latest all evening. we've heard about preliminary. what can you tell us about how powerful this tornado was. >> they'll go out there with the assessment teams and look for evidence of all ef-5 damage, which is winds over 200 miles per hour. i've already heard some stories about heavy oil tankers that was literally tossed half a mile. if that was the case, to project something that heavy, this is going to be an e-f five tornado. just as strong as the ones we had down there. >> you said it was up to 90 or 91? >> 891.
>> there was 2$2.8 billion wort of damage. now, we're looking at another joplin. it's going all the way back to 1947 doing that much damage in this country. 91 fatalities. the average lead time is 12 minutes. up to 40 minutes before this actually got there. this was day light. this was the best chase chasers in the world.
you can't ask for anymore warning. obviously, a lot of lives were saved. this many fatalities, you wonder what else we could have done? >> can you give us a little bit of an explainer in how those warnings work? how specific are the storms that they're facing? >> there's different levels, you know. there could be tornado warnings that are doppler-indicated. it's our radar showing us the spinning motion.
or a weather watcher could be out there and it looks like they're issuing a tornado warning. in some cases, they're doing a tornado emergency. that's kind of new over the last couple of years. that's if they know there's a large, tornado emergency. that's to give it a little extra um of. there's not many people that did it. the biggest question that's going to come out of all of this is, once we're all done with it is is it better to get in your car, get as far as way from this as you possibly can or stay where you are. if you weren't under ground when this thing hit, you got severely injured or killed.
the issue is, you get a popul e populated area and then you're getting accidents and a whole other set of problems. at one point, the local meteorologists were telling residents run. get in your car and get away. that's the only debate we have in the weather community. >> people did everything right. they tried to do the best shelter they could. and, yet, we still did as we see the level of destruction we've seen. in terms of tornadoes of the strength, you mentioned joplin. joplin was relatively recently. it may seem to keeping track of this station are pretty common.
>> not e-5. we've had 10 or 11 of them. i know we had the big one in kansas, that was an ef-5. they're very rare in this country and even more rare is that they actually hit a populated area. going back to your point, this is the heart of tornado alley. i imagine these kids are the most tornado drilled in this country. they did everything the way they were supposed to do. what were they supposed to do? i'm sure they had them in the hallways shlgs i'm sure they had them covered up. if you saw the pictures, there were no walls left. the roof collapsed. there was really nothing that could be done. you couldn't take all of these kids and put them on a bus and
get them out of there. it's a helpless, sad situation. you want human natures to figure out a way to avoid situations like this. >> well, like you said, nay ear rare of the strength. and, so, perhaps people just come up with the best means possible for protecting themselves against smaller, less severe storms. i want to ask you about what's going to happen because this is, of course, the time of year where we see a lot of tornadoes. can we expect to see other tornadoes touching down in this area in the coming days? >> not in this area. so it looks like the areas that were really hit hard over the last two days are going to get a break from the severe weather. even at this hour, we had a nasty line of storms go through chicago.
still a severe thunderstorm watch for northern indiana. we still have a tornado watch. we have our eyes on indianapolis and further to the south. first, oklahoma city, you are safe. no problems there. we still have the possibility of hail and winds heading into the area of southeastern, oklahoma. mcalister, sulfur and it looks like more in oklahoma city are safe. as far as other areas are concerned, you now have the all-clear. that heaviest of the weather, that worst of the winlds has shifted over interstate 65 in indiana. also, champagne illinois. tho
those storms are pushing towards indianapolis. also so flash flooding. those storms kind of weaken and die off. and then the atmosphere regeneral rises on tuesday. as fash as severe weather goes, more typical, severe weather. it's that area of red at the very bottom of the screen that we're going to have another chance of the super-cell thunderstorms. it doesn't look as bad as the last two days. it only takes one strong one to give us an historic night. we're going to go five days in a row with at least a threat of a couple strong tornadoes. >> and, of course, you're always
worried about the impact of any kind of severe weather, whether it's thunderstorms or recovery efforts taking place. i want you to stick with me for just one second. we want to give our viewers a different view of the tornado as it hilt. this was shot by michael welsh of new castle, oklahoma. that just gives us a sense of the massive size and power and storm. at its base, it touched down for
about 20 minutes and tore a swath. here in the opening moment and in the area suburbs. from her twilter account, we know the governor visited the school that we told you about earlier in oklahoma. at that school, the search has gone from rescue to recovery mode. >> well all hands on deck. a lot of people that are out with search and rescue right now, zersearching for anyone th might be injured. and we have a command center here at the capitol that's up and running with about 50 people.
> in all of the tragedy, we have a story of heroism from lance west and our affiliate, kfor. they just put some yellow tape around the school. quite frankly, it is noisy and if there are children trying to screen for help, you can't get to him. they're trying to get some hysterical parents back. i am with a teacher here, her
name is rhonda. all of her students are alive and all akoublted for. >> a lot of these were done by teachers at schools who did everything they could to protect the children in their care. i'm curious. we do see tornadoes here frequently. >> a lot of people are asking that question today. how come we don't hear about stuff like this in our countries? it hasz to do with our topography. if you look at the raised topography map, the way it sits and how flat it is and then you look at how mountainous it is,
it sets the stage. the warm air just flows at night. it doesn't happen railly like that anywhere. europe had a couple strong tornadoes. we are pretty much alone in getting the amount of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms there. and a lot of people in the southeast, alabama, mississippi, tennessee, they call themselves the new tornado alley. over the last two or three decades, he showed that video from a cook, i believe, took that video. h showed earlier of the close-up view of the tornado coming towards him. the tornado literally is just --
it's almost like a vacuum hose. it's just sucking everything around it. that's the thunderstorm in the tornado sucking all the warm, humid air into the ground into that tornado. and then it goes up into the thunderstorm. that's the energy. that's the engine. the helicopter pilot, at one point, said that the storm would you describe 60 knot winds into the storm. literally, he had to take the helicopter in the other direction at 60 just to stay still. that was very strong. just an indication of how intention that this storm itself was. this guy is a little krads si. just amazing, and devastating.
to see the evolution of this, how it went from there to the monster it was just, you know, literally three minutes later. and when you hear about big weather events, do we know fw any of this is relevant in this discussion. a do we know if it's related to climate change? anything like that? >> no, mathematically, it would be impossible to prove anyways. we actually went a long time without getting an ef-5. for the most part, if this had gone 10 miles south of this, we would have had amazing pictures
from helicopters and probably very little dwaj. for the most part, it went through rural areas. that could have been just as bad as this one. >> yeah shl, but the great trag here is it passed through. nanks so much for that. again, continuing coverage of the devastating storm out of oklahoma. latest numbers are 91 people killed, including 20 children at about 145 injured. that's a great number of chirn. about 70. many parts of that area completely levelled and destroyed, including two schools. we're going to take a break, but our kw our kcoverage continues next. attract and lock dirt, dust, and hair on contact
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people coping with the immediate aver math of the storm. joining us now is oklahoma's lieutenant governor. thank you, again, for being with us this evening. i appreciareesh more of yur tim. >> any official updates on us? they will continue throughout the night. the volunteers, the first responders, the trained medical professor. they're on scene. it's still a rescue effort right now. some of the parents have found their children at schools and other locations. that's some good news. >> with so many homes, it's
stuch a large residential area with so many homes affected, are you confident that there is a enough temporary shelter. >> one thing i'll see is a lot of things. it's factual. we're good at responding to tragedies like this. we're good at responding. part of that responding is being good to one another and setting up shelter. i hope i don't find out tomorrow morning that there's not enough shelter.
we heard tonight that the national guard has been call up. what will they do and why were they called up? >> i was with the governor and he added some early this afternoon when the governor made that request to get more boots on the ground. national guard, they're good at the response, they're good at maintaining integrity of structures and providing any necessary assistance, whatever that may be. first responder, treage. if national guard is providing greater assistance. so many of them are from this area.
>> we're going to be speaking with you in general in just a moment. i'll look forward to hearing in more detail what those soldiers will be going. there's one thing i want today sd you about, which is the very sad news about the rising death toll, at this point, state medical examiner saying it's 51 dead and they skppted that number to rise. it's the further where they say 20 children are among those confirmed dead. is that your you saiding? >> yeah, that's the most up-to-date information. we had 51 dead, 20 children. and we do have at one of the treage hospitals just north of moor, probably about 7 miles north. there's probably about 85 trauma patients right now. 60 of those are children. we'll get more of those reports
in throughout the night and have the updated information first thing in the morning. >> thank you for helping us keep everybody informed, sir. if there is word that you want, i hope you'll let us help you. we feel like we need to do something. >> rachel, thank you very much. >> oklahoma lieutenant governor todd lavm. as we just discussed, there are two 00 med bers of the active guard to to search and rescue, to provide perimeter security assistance to the fegs first responders. >> what can you tell us about what you expect your national guard members to be doing through the night and the coming days now that you've been called up. >> well, certainly, our first responsibility is to discyst where ever we can, the first
responders' efforts in mitigating these defects. it will be providing any kind of search and rescue that they need accomplished. and assisting those first sponters because, as you well know, something like this goes on for many hours and sometimes days. and they need some relief and our equipment. and then we provide the security for the area. and that's keeping people safe. keeping people out of these disaster areas so nay don't get hurt. and and, then, also, people keep their affair. haven't had any reports of that. bru we support -- we started supporting first responders. >> you better to get to repeat on the issue of looting. there have bmpb no reports yet,
have there been? >> not that i'm aware of. at this time. >> on search and rescue, you describe -- i know that that's something that you and the oklahoma national guard trained for. you described the skills and the equipment that you have for doing search and rescue, and you'll be brirnging that to bear on this crisis. can you fell us about the kind of equipment that means? >> certainly, our cst teams are equipped to provide exactly that. the search and rescue is using infrared. we also have the uh 72 held cooperators and, from the air, is able to seek the infrared signals in the air. and then we provided back-breaking man power. >> in terms of that infrared technology, i know i may be asking something that's too
specific for you to be able to advise me right now. but i'm curious as to how deeply into the rubble something like that infrared technology might be atot a heat source. once somebody would not to with we have about 10 feet of rubble. >> yeah, abstlutly. this won't pick up any kind of heat signature from the ground. we would be able to protect those, but it's just buried under smaller pieces of debris. >> thanks, general. i'm sorry to have to get that level of nitty-gritty detail. but it is life and death at this point. thank you, sir, and good luck to you. please stay in touch with us. >> more reporting from the scene
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i want to show you one piece of footage that you may have not seen today. this is the scene in briarwood elementary school. the adults there calling for all of the fifth graders. the staff members of that school at briar wood, elementary. fortunate ri, all of the kids were accounted for. that is not the same froout. that elementary school across town. joining me now is bill karens. >> i can't imagine what those parents went through. just even though 30, 60 minutes before they found out were safe is something no parent should have to go through.
we are not completely done yet. it's going to 5:00 a.m. for areas around indianapolis. we're talking right through the night and the potential could rock and roll. let he show you what we're dealing with. you can see the storm is going from shi can fwoe all the way down to arkansas. now, as far as the storms going for indianapolis, we're okay right now. the wost of it is to your north there from champagne. that's where we're seeing the strongest. further to the south, i know you've got some bad flash flooding there. no threat of tornado nor the rest of the night. they're heading in there across the border into southern illinois. further into the south, they stimhave to watch if storms going into little rock.
as far as oklahoma goes, they're not sneaking up towards moore. at least for the rescue and recovery efforts, people are trying to find people still alive. the weather will cooperate throughout the evening. this was about four. we'll have another out break tomorrow. probably a little bit smaller. i'm thinking it's not gingrich to with one of these big movnser ones. the area of concern is in red here. then that i'm move northeast. as far as the big cities go,
shreveport will be the areas of concern. we're not done tonight. >> when we are describing this as a potentially historic storm, this one that hit in oklahoma, o sli, we're not keeping it there vm wumpb of t . >> one of the fastest ever rorlted back in 19899? do wi know if it is appropriate to kaulg this a storm of historic proportions? any full-time you're going to get an ef 4 or 5, it's historic. we've only had nine or ten of them. we could have two ef-5s in 14 years where we've only had nine others in the sfwier country.
if it wasn't for the joplin one, we'd be saying i can't believe this happened. and that entire event, 371 lives were lost. so over the last two or three years, i don't know if anyone's getting used to this, but it's more of the norm. >> thank you so much. our coverage of the on going rescue efforts in oklahoma continues in just a moment. for all kinds of reasons. i go to angie's list to gauge whether or not the projects will be done in a timely fashion and within budget. angie's list members can tell you which provider is the best in town. you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare. now that we're expecting, i like the fact that i can go onto angie's list and look for pediatricians. the service providers that i've found on angie's list actually have blown me away. join today and find out
in scientific terms, when we take the measure of tornadoes, like the one that just struck moore oklahoma, we use a skalg that was created by this meteorologist. in 1971, he created what is known as the fujita scale for tornados. tp f stands for fujita. an f-51 largest with 260 miles an hour and 300 miles an hour and more. but the measure is not just about wind speed.
it was 2007 when they made a new scale, the enhanced scale. you still have the same categories increasing in se varity. but it's enhanced specific criteria down to the level of whether the tornado has struck a single-wide mobile home or double wide mobile home or doctor's office or warehouse. you could design a specific degree of damage. and judging by the levels of degree, you determined how strong the tornado was. you used hear them described as f-1, f-2. now they say e-f 1 or f-1. and, again, the bigger the number, the worse it is. zero is better than five.
it was the afternoon of may 3rd, 1999 when an f-5 tornado crossed into bill karen's home. the mayor today was the same back then. the 1999 tor they doe was recorded at over 300 miles an hour. that tornado killed 36 people across four countyings. then in 2003, there was another major tornado that took roughly the same path. now, today's storm, following
the almost same exact path. that was the ninth storm caused by a single storm cell. that whole system killed 36 people. but another dozen were killed in the same outbreak over the course of several days. over veteran's day, a total of 76 tornadoes hit 17 states. 17 people killed in tennessee alone. but the same '02 storm system killed people as far north as ohio and pennsylvania. a few months later, may, 2003, that was when that second big tornado hit. nobody died in that storm. but that storm system killed more than 40 people across multiple states.
one funnel stayed on the ground for 31 miles. kansas lost 14 people and most of the buildings in town. essentially the whole town was lost to a single f-5 twister that day. look at this, no individual category reached f-5. but, still, 57 people killed across the united states. several f-5 twisters. more than 320 people dead. that was just a massive event. and it was followed just a few weeks later in 2011 by the leveling of much of joplin, missouri. most of them in missouri, but, also, in kansas and arkansas and oklahoma.
last week, tornadoes broke out killing six people and destroying a neighborhood. they're still digging up in texas. now, in oklahoma, where the storms took life even yesterday and where the death toll stands at 51 with the state medical examiner saying we should expect that 51 number to rise. they're searching and praying and preparing for what could be a very long night. he leads the national severe storms lab which is located in oklahoma. dr. brooks, thank you very much for being with us. >> thanks for having me. >> what you would should we know about the science behind forecasting tornadoes. >> we've improved a lot.
back then, we had the first inkling. now, we have the first possibility of maybe a tornado outbreak in this part of the country since that time, the statements have gotten more precise and highlighting more and more of what's been happening. for the first touchdown, there was 16 minutes of lead time. by the time it go to mortar, it was 60 minutes. so our ability to forecast is the long term and the short term. >> are there things that we cannot prediblgt about needs types of storms that you hope sochl day we might be able to? obviously, you'd like more lead time. but are there things i can't predi predict? >> we're not particularly good with the intensity of tornadoes yet. and to be able to say that this
tornado, by this storm is going to be violent or weak. and that would be a great help in terms of being able to respond better and being able to, just give people more options. that's going to be a big challenge. it's hard to forecast those precise events. >> you're obviously there in nor man, oklahoma. you're in part of the koun tril that is really frequently affected by news types of storms. do you feel like we, as americans are making all the strides we can? are there things we should be doing in terms of zoning and technology that could help more people survive more incidents like that? there was an edition several years ago.
there's a web site maintained by the red cross that you may want to check out tonight. if you have survived the storm, this web site is designed for you to be able to register yourself as safe and well. anybody looking for you can use the searchable data base to search for you by name. it's safeandwell.org. if you want to donate 10 bucks by texting, text to the number
90999. yoo if you want to make a donation to the reeblg nalg food bank, you can text this number, 32333, just text the word food to that number and you can make a donation by text or you can visit their web site. at a time like this, the people need as much support as possible. abds those of us who have not been hit by the storm need to make sure that our help is actually helping.
president obama declaring a massive disaster in the wake of the tornado today. the latest confirmed death toll is 51 killed, at least 20 of them children. they say those numbers are likely to climb tomorrow. search and rescue operations in moore, oklahoma will continue through the night, including at